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‘ReCreation’ Interactive Research Day

Frances Moffatt

“Drawing helps us slow down, look closely, and connect with each other and the world.” - Wendy MacNaughton, Illustrator and Graphic Journalist

‘ReCreation’ by Frances Moffatt is a Tunnel Gallery Commission for Celebrating Hidden Middlesbrough Autumn/Winter 2021. The project explores contemporary leisure and entertainment in the town, inspired by the historic Middlesbrough Winter Garden and focusing on the Heritage Action Zone. The artist has used the lens of reportage illustration to investigate capturing a specific, fleeting sense of time and place, contextualised by the past whilst looking to the future.

‘ReCreation’ is a play on words, encompassing the double meaning of ‘recreation’ and ‘re-creation’, and taken from a chapter title in Lady Florence Bell’s ‘At The Works: A study of a manufacturing town’.  Lady Bell, alongside her husband Sir Hugh Bell (director of Bell Brother’s steelworks) founded and ran the Middlesbrough Winter Garden, which opened in 1907. The aim was to provide an affordable space where the working classes could relax and socialise in an alcohol free environment. ‘Re-creation’ refers to the current reimagining of leisure and socialising around Exchange Square, with a programme of regeneration by the council and exciting independent venues breathing new life into the area.

The work in the virtual exhibition was created by the artist and the participants of the ‘ReCreation’ Interactive Research Day.  The event gave members of the community the opportunity to learn about the heritage of the town, and participate in a reportage illustration workshop in two leisure locations housed in historic buildings in the Heritage Action Zone: Base Camp, a space for music, arts, food and drink, and The Zetland Brasserie and Bar.  


The day formed a key part of the artist’s vision for the project, which was to record and celebrate a variety of interpretations and perspectives on life and leisure in contemporary Middlesbrough, and to contribute to the documented narrative of the town.


This exhibition forms a virtual companion piece to Frances Moffatt’s installation (image below) at the Tunnel Gallery billboard on Albert Road.

A digital resource and illustration guide are available to download here.

Interactive Research Day Artists: Lianne Bell, Lisa Lovebucket, Denise Maloney, Olivia McHale, Frances Moffatt, p.a. morbid, Grace Redpath, Nikki Redpath, Miki Rogers, Mary Lou Springstead.

Photography: Rachel Deakin.

With thanks to Philip Christie of The Zetland Brasserie and Bar, and Graham and Carmel Ramsay of Basecamp.

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